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The Natural State

We are experiencing some plumbing issues in our rental house, so we're heading up to Kansas City for a day or so where we will stay with friends while the landlord here gives the place some attention. Here's something I started to write a couple of days ago:

I now reside in Berryville, Arkansas. Lara, Logan and I live in a rented three bedroom house on Pleasant Avenue. Pleasant Avenue resembles a billabong in that it branches off a major artery and then dead ends. We don’t get much traffic, but we get more than I would have expected.

Our house is brown on the inside. Mottled brown carpet, patterned brown linoleum, brown wood paneling on the walls. Still, of the rental houses we saw, this one looked better maintained and cleaner than any of the others, so we took it. After we moved in, Lara went to clean out the kitchen cabinets and found oodles of mouse pooh.

We looked at a rental house down the road in Green Forrest. My mother’s mother (as well as my mother) lives in Berryville. I call her Grandma, but it sounds more like “Gramma.” I asked her what Green Forrest was like.

She said, “A bump in the road.”

Anyway, we met the landlord of a rental property in Green Forrest. We we arrived at his place of residence/business, he was playing cards on a folding table with a shirtless man. The room contained no furniture other than the folding card table and the folding chairs upon which the men sat. They were both drinking bear. The landlord, though he had advance and then last minute warning of our arrival, had gotten so caught up in the game, that he had not fetched the key to the rental property or made other preparations to go out. At first, he indicated that we would have to wait until the end of the hand, but then he picked up a bunch of cards and there was no way we were going to hang around in the dingy little living room for him to play that lot. He left us in the company of his shirtless companion while he went to get the keys.

Shirtless companion: Where're you folks from?

Lara: Seattle.

SC: I could tell from the way you talked that you wasn't from around here.

KMO and Lara: Really? (or something to that effect)

SC: Yeah, I come here from Los Angeles.

KMO: How long have you lived in Arkansas.

SC: Oh, it's been awhile. About 24 years, I guess.

KMO & Lara: Oh? Mmm hmmm... (or something to that effect)

Long silence.

Anyway, we didn't take the house. In fact, we never even saw the inside. When I saw the outside of it, I told the gentleman that it was too close to the street for our needs (which was true) and that we didn't need to see the inside. That was also true. We didn't look anywhere else in Green Forrest.

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